Quality Schools frequently asked questions

The Australian Government is delivering new school funding and reform arrangements. To explain the reforms, some frequently asked questions are available below.

A series of fact sheets that explain the schools reform package in more detail are also available.

There is also a glossary for key terms used on this website.

How will the changes to the Australian Education Act 2013 affect how schools are funded ?

On 23 June 2017, the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act) was changed through the Federal Parliament to give effect to the Australian Government's Quality Schools package.

Changes to funding arrangements include:

  • The Government will increase its contribution to the SRS:
    • from the current average of 17 per cent for government schools to 20 per cent by 2027
    • from the current average of 76.2 per cent for non-government schools to 80 per cent by 2027.
  • All schools will move to consistent shares of the Schooling Resource Standard within 10 years.
  • State and territory governments will be required to deliver their share of a total public funding level of at least 95 per cent of the SRS for all schools by 2023, unless otherwise agreed with the Commonwealth.

What's the aim of these changes? How do they benefit students?

The Australian Government is committed to providing school funding that is based on the need of students and schools, so that funding goes to where it is needed the most.

By 2027, students with the same need in the same school sector will attract the same level of Commonwealth funding.

When will the new funding arrangements take effect?

From 1 January 2018, schools will begin moving to the new consistent shares of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) over six and 10 years—depending on their starting points.

Schools that currently attract less than the new Commonwealth share of the Schooling Resource Standard will move to their new shares by 2023.

Schools that are currently funded above the new Commonwealth share of the SRS will transition over a slightly longer and more manageable period, reaching their new SRS share by 2027.

What does this mean for my school?

More than 99 per cent of schools will see a year on year increase in funding. On average, per student funding from the Australian Government, will grow 4.2 per cent each year over the next decade.

Will any schools lose funding?

A very small number of non-government schools are expected to have their recurrent funding reduced as they transition to new Commonwealth share of the Schooling Resource Standard.

This is because these non-government schools have historically received more funding than similar schools with students with similar levels of need.

The funding reduction will occur in a manageable way, with most affected schools set to have only a small reduction in Commonwealth funding .

What is the National School Resourcing Board?

The Australian Government established the National School Resourcing Board (the Board) to undertake reviews of different parts of the funding model under the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act).

These reviews will help ensure public confidence in the funding model and ensure states, territories and other approved authorities comply with their obligations under the Act.

The first review undertaken by the Board will consider how Socio Economic Status (SES) scores are calculated and the way in which a non-government school's capacity to contribute is assessed. The second review will focus on the loading which delivers additional funding for students with disability.

Over time, the reviews undertaken by the Board will help show how school funding is improving educational outcomes, as well as making sure funding is used in line with the Act.

The Board members are:

Dr Michael Chaney AO (Chair)

  • Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley AC (Deputy Chair)
  • Associate Professor Natalie Brown
  • Professor Greg Craven AO
  • Mr Bill Daniels AM
  • Professor Stephen Lamb
  • Professor Ken Smith
  • Dr Alison Taylor

What are the interim arrangements for non-government school systems, while the National School Resourcing Board undertakes the socio-economic status (SES) score methodology review?

The Board's review of the SES score methodology will be completed in time for any proposed changes to take effect from the 2019 school year.

Under current arrangements, some systemic schools have their SES score determined at the system level. The 'system weighted average' SES score will be removed from 2018, meaning all SES scores will be applied at the individual school level even if a school is part of a system.

Systems will retain the ability to redistribute funding. The Government has committed to extend the current funding Catholic and other non-government system schools receive using system-weighted average SES scores for 2018.

This funding will apply to non-government systems which had the SES scores of their school calculated through a system-weighted average calculation in 2017.

The terms of reference provide more detail on the review.

How is funding for students with disability being improved?

From 2018, the Commonwealth's student with disability loading will be based on a new national data collection, the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD).

The NCCD provides important information like the type and level of adjustments needed for students with disability to access education. It will help the Australian Government to better support students with disability.

To ensure this data is of the highest possible quality, the Australian Government will provide $20 million over four years (2017-18 to 2020-21) for the NCCD Continuous Improvement Fund to support quality assurance, continuous improvement and moderation of the data across all schools.

How will the Government's plan improve student achievement?

Mr David Gonski AC is leading a Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools. The review will provide advice on how the Australian Government's additional investment should be used to improve school and student achievement.

The review outcomes will inform a new national schools agreement between the Commonwealth and the states and territories. This will help make sure that reform actions are based on a solid understanding of what works. Implementation of reforms will be a condition of funding for states and territories.

What is required of states and territories??

State and territory governments will be required to deliver their share of a total public funding level of at least 95 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard for all schools by 2023, unless otherwise agreed with the Commonwealth, as an ongoing condition of receiving Commonwealth funding.

States and territories will also be required to sign a new national schools agreement with the Commonwealth. This agreement will be supported by bilateral implementation agreements with each state and territory.

Previous arrangements

What was the 2011 Gonski review and what did it recommend?

The 2011 Review of Funding for Schooling was commissioned by the former Government and led by Mr David Gonski AC.

The report made many recommendations, but central to the review was the concept of a needs based approach to funding that provided a 'schooling resource standard' with a base amount per student and loadings for disadvantage.

How was the 2011 Gonski Review implemented?

While the Schooling Resource Standard was included in the previous version of the Act, Commonwealth recurrent funding varied considerably depending on negotiated arrangements with state and territory governments.

This means students with the same need in the same sector were treated differently because of the state in which they lived.

Even the most overfunded schools received annual increases in funding of three per cent.

If the previous arrangements had continued, the transition to more consistent needs-based funding would not occur within decades, or even within 150 years in some instances.

What is the Government doing to fix this?

Under the new arrangements announced by the Government, students with the same need within the same sector are treated the same, regardless of where they live.

Within 10 years, all schools will receive their new share of Commonwealth funding.

The Government will invest record levels of recurrent school funding, increasing from $17.5 billion in 2017 to $31.1 billion in 2027.

This is an increase of over 77 per cent in funding to schools over the next 10 years – well above inflation and enrolment growth.

The schools that are furthest behind will receive the fastest increase in funding.